Monday, January 29, 2007


Conclusion of the Day

[P]owerful nations tend to win wars when all they seek is an opponent's submission, but tend to lose when victory requires an opponent's cooperation. —Political scientist Patricia Sullivan's research finding as described by Shankar Vedantam in "Twisting Arms Isn't as Easy as Dropping Bombs"

To arrive at this conclusion Sullivan looked at post–World War II conflicts—

Sullivan found that the five Security Council permanent members won three-quarters of conflicts in which their aims did not require their opponents' cooperation, but only half of the conflicts in which they did need cooperation.

For the United States, the disparity was even greater -- winning 81 percent of conflicts when cooperation was not required, but only 44 percent of the military interventions, such as in Laos in 1964 and Lebanon in 1982, that Sullivan described as having "coercive" goals.


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